I’ve been painting and sketching native oysters, Ostrea edulis. I buy them from oyster fishermen at Mylor in Cornwall near Falmouth. It was bitterly cold then and it’s pretty cold now.
It takes a long time to establish a native oyster bed. They were a major source of cheap food. In 1851, for example, a round 500 million oysters were sold through Billingsgate. Our oyster beds were destroyed by a series of cold winters, surely not the first though, in the mid 20th Century, and then pollution, the parasite, Bonnania Ostrea, the beastly slipper limpets and oyster drills which drill holes into them and eat it contents, they are a big threat for commercial oyster farms.
Now they can only be collected under license in Scotland.
Oysters change back and forth from female to male according to the temperature of the water. You get in the bath nice and hot, go to sleep, and wake up in cold water, surprisingly different. Well, surprising the first time, but native oysters can live for 20 years so they may get used to it.
Native Oysters, acrylic on canvas 50 cms x 100 cms
You can see my work in London at the The Flying Colours Gallery and at Oliver Contemporary
All photographs by James Forshall
We’ve been down to Gwenver Beach. We walked along the path towards the cliffs in the evening light. There was quite a swell and the waves were breaking on the rocks.
The next day we picnicked on the beach. Even though the sun was bright the wind was cold. I sat sketching in the dunes. I’m working for a show to be called ‘Coast’ at the ‘Flying Colours Gallery’, Chelsea, in November. There is a lot of work to do. I’ll be showing fish and shell paintings but also paintings of flowers associated with the sea.
Much of the sea thrift was already pollinated and had gone to seed. As well as the bees it attracts a daylight moth, the Five Spot Burnett, Zygaena Trifolii, and a small snail, the name of which I do not know, which happily munches its way through the pink petals, pollinated or not.
It’s a lovely place, not far from Sennen Cove in Cornwall. There is a long steep walk down but it’s worth it.
If you would like to be kept informed of forthcoming shows please email me at email@example.com
All photographs © James Forshall
I’ve just completed this painting of oyster shells.
They are the shells of the Pacific oyster and they are on the way to the Moncrieff- Bray Gallery, which will take them to the 20/21 International Art Fair at the Royal College of Art, Kensington Gore, London SW7 2EU, running from the 14 – 17th May 2015.
Photograph by James Forshall
This shoal of fish has been moving around my house as I work on it. They’ve spent quite a lot of time in the kitchen. I look at it in different lights and in different places and now that I’m happy with it I’ve signed it and the shoal will be traveling in a van to the Moncrieff-Bray Gallery, near Petworth, West Sussex.
Equinox Tide 160 cms x 80 cms acrylic on canvas
Until the end of September, there is a selection of my paintings at the Oliver Contemporary in a mixed show, ‘ A Journey Through Summer 2013’ . There are also paintings by Simeon Stafford, Catharine Armitage, Matthew Batt, Mary Ford, Kate Boxer, Ingrid Wilkins and others.
Oliver Contemporary, 17 Bellevue Road, Wandsworth Road, London SW17 7EG.
Telephone 0208 767 8822
Opening Hours Tuesday – Saturday 11 a.m. – 5.30 p.m.
Gwenver Beach is just to the north east of Sennen Cove. On a clear day you can see the Scilly Isles.
On the day we went the sun shone all day. I took my sketch book and was rewarded by finding Sea Thrift growing along the fringe of the beach.
It is also known as Ladies Cushions, Heugh Daisy, and Cliff Clover.
The Sea Thrift plant was on one side of the old brass thrupenny bit minted between 1937 and 1952.
And I also found Sea Holly growing, though not yet in flower.
Photographs www.jamesforshallphotography.com all rights reserved